FIA race director Michael Masi has explained the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix stewards had no option but to investigate Carlos Sainz post-event for an alleged pit infringement as extra data was required to reach a conclusion.
During the Formula 1 season finale, as McLaren opted for a double-stack pit stop during a VSC period, Sainz was reported to the stewards for driving unnecessarily slowly in the pit lane, seemingly backing up Racing Point's Lance Stroll.
Sainz finished sixth, a position that helped secure McLaren third place in the constructors' championship, leapfrogging Racing Point after entering the weekend with a 10-point deficit.
Regarding why the incident was not investigated during the race, Masi said: “There was some data that was necessary that we wanted to get hold of so that takes obviously a little bit longer to get.
"As a result, it was easier to look at it completely after the race once we had all of that available information and it was also helpful getting the perspectives of the respective drivers.”
With the speed restriction set at 80kph in the Yas Marina Circuit pit lane, the stewards noted Sainz dropped his pace to "no less than 70kph" for five seconds.
This resulted in him arriving in his pit box "around 0.6 seconds later than if it had maintained a speed of 80kph".
The stewards acknowledged Sainz was not instructed to slow by the team and, despite the data indicating his reduced pace, Masi commented such decisions are not a black-and-white matter.
“It’s a judgement [call] effectively," added Masi. "Driving unnecessarily slowly in the pit lane comes about as a result of discussions with all the team sporting directors and the stewards earlier this year.
“We had to look at it all and it’s a judgement. It’s why we have stewards.”
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